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Tuesday March 18, 2014 MYT 1:25:02 AM
Tuesday March 18, 2014 MYT 1:25:56 AM
MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday imposed sanctions on 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials blamed for Russian forces' seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region, which has voted to join Russia. Obama's order freezes any assets the 11 hold in the United States and bans them from entering the country.
Below are brief profiles of the officials facing sanctions.
VIKTOR YANUKOVICH, DEPOSED PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE
Yanukovich, 63, was ousted as president on February 22, one day after concluding an agreement with his political opponents in Ukraine that set out plans to hold an early presidential election and form a national unity government. He is now wanted for mass murder in Ukraine, following clashes in Kiev between police and protesters in which about 100 people were killed.
The protests were triggered by Yanukovich's decision not to sign trade and political pacts with the European Union and to turn back towards Moscow instead. Ukraine's new prime minister said loans worth $37 billion went missing from state coffers during his rule and a luxury residence which was opened to the public after he fled the country shocked the population with its extravagance. He says he was toppled in an unconstitutional coup and that he is still Ukraine's rightful president.
VIKTOR MEDVEDCHUK, FORMER HEAD OF UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL
Medvedchuk, 59, is a Russian-born lawyer who was head of the Ukrainian presidential administration under Leonid Kuchma from 2002 until 2005, is a former leader of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party. Medvedchuk is chairman of the pro-Russian organisation Ukrainian Choice that advocates joining a customs Union promoted by Putin and involving Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Putin is godfather to Medvedchuk's daughter Daria. The godmother is Svetlana Medvedeva, the wife of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a former president.
SERGEI AKSYONOV, CRIMEA'S PRIME MINISTER
Widely known as "the Goblin" from his business past, the 41-year-old led the pro-Moscow Russian Unity party in a 2010 parliamentary election in Crimea and won just 4 percent of the vote. He became the region's prime minister in a closed parliamentary vote on February 27 after Russian forces took control of the Black Sea peninsula. He is wanted by the Ukrainian authorities on charges of carrying out actions aimed at the violent overthrow, change of constitutional order, or the seizure of state power.
Speaking before Sunday's referendum on joining Russia, Aksyonov dismissed accusations that he was chosen by the Kremlin to front a military-backed takeover of Crimea.
VALENTINA MATVIYENKO, RUSSIAN UPPER HOUSE SPEAKER
Matviyenko, 64, is Russia's third highest-ranking leader after President Vladimir Putin as speaker of Russia's Federation Council, the upper house. A Putin loyalist, she was elected governor of his native St Petersburg in 2003 and launched a raft of infrastructure projects to transform Russia's second city.
Matviyenko was the first Russian official to raise the possibility of Russian troops being sent to Ukraine's Crimea region to protect Russian citizens and the country's Black Sea Fleet. She swiftly backed down from the position, saying there would be no war over Ukraine, but has been used to issue statements on the crisis with the backing of the Kremlin.
DMITRY ROGOZIN, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF RUSSIA
Rogozin, 50, oversees Russia's powerful arms industry which has clashed with the United States on arms deliveries to countries including Syria, Iran and Libya. Known for sarcasm and anti-Western tirades, Rogozin served as Russia's ambassador to NATO after the nationalist party he led was dissolved. In 2011 he became a deputy prime minister in the government led at the time by Vladimir Putin.
Rogozin has said Russia's arms industry, the second largest exporter in the world behind the United States, was not afraid of sanctions. He has criticised Ukraine's steps towards joining NATO and backed Crimea's accession to Russia.
SERGEI GLAZYEV, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER
Glazyev, 53, is a Putin aide who coordinates work on the customs union comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia that Putin hopes to extend into a Eurasian Union encompassing most of the former Soviet states. Russia's attempts to push Ukraine into joining this union through trade barriers was one factor that led to Yanukovich's swerve away from the EU.
Glazyev has been a fierce critic of Ukraine's Euromaidan protest movement and called in February for the use of force, if necessary by Russia, to crush it. An academic economist, he has been active in Russian politics for two decades, founding a left-wing nationalist party called Rodina. He is noted for his strong anti-western views and support for policies such as nationalisation. He has said Russia should respond to Western sanctions threats by boycotting the dollar, a view disavowed by the Kremlin as too extreme.
VLADISLAV SURKOV, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL AIDE
Surkov, 49, is a longtime Kremlin ideologue and strategist and architect of the tightly controlled political system Putin put in place during his first stint as president in 2000-2008. Putin's deputy chief of staff at the time, Surkov was known as the "grey cardinal" because of his influence on the president. He worked behind the scenes to help Putin tighten his grip by reining in the media, regional leaders and liberal foes.
Surkov was pushed out of the Kremlin in 2011, when Putin's protege Dmitry Medvedev was president, and quit the cabinet last May. But Putin brought him back in September as an aide. Officials say his portfolio is the Russian-backed Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but he is widely seen as involved in Ukraine policy as well. Some sources said he was one of a few close advisers Putin consulted on the Crimea decision. Local media say he went to Crimea in early February.
YELENA MIZULINA, MEMBER OF RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT
Mizulina, 59, is a conservative member of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. As the head of the chamber's family issues committee, she has authored conservative legislation including a ban on the spread of "homosexual propaganda" among minors, which has upset Western governments. She has also supported curbs on abortions and other measures to promote Russian Orthodox religious values.
Above all, Mizulina authored a bill that made it easier for Russia to take in autonomous territories and another that simplified procedures for Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship. "The U.S. sanctions are revenge for my views," she said, adding that she and her family had no accounts or property outside Russia.
ANDREI KLISHAS, MEMBER OF RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT
Klishas, 41, has headed the upper chamber's committee on constitutional legislation, legal and judicial affairs and civil society development since March 2012. "I am flattered by the U.S. authorities' attention and I am in the company of very respected people, which satisfied me," he told Reuters.
Russia's RIA news agency quoted Klishas this month as saying a law was being drafted to allow the confiscation of property, assets and accounts of European or U.S. companies if sanctions were imposed. He was president of Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel and palladium producer, between 2010 and 2012.
LEONID SLUTSKY, MEMBER OF RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT
Slutsky, 46, is a pro-Kremlin member of the lower house who heads its committee on relations with other former Soviet republics. He was among the first Russian representatives to promise Russia would protect its compatriots in Crimea if they were in danger.
Slutsky led a delegation of Russian observers to monitor Sunday's referendum in Crimea and said there were no "serious violations". He has characterised the situation in Ukraine as a "clash of civilisations".
VLADIMIR KONSTANTINOV, CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER
Vladimir Konstantinov, 57, has been speaker of the Crimean parliament since March 2010 and has spent 12 years as a deputy in the regional legislature since 1998.
He has been an advocate of the referendum on joining Russia since parliament elected pro-Russian separatist Sergei Aksyonov to head Crimea's government in a February 27 Ukraine's new government says amounted to a seizure of power.
Konstantinov is the longtime former president of a construction company.
(Compiled by Polina Devitt, Alissa de Carbonnel, Timothy Heritage, Elizabeth Piper, Steve Gutterman, Thomas Grove and Jason Bush in Moscow, and Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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